Ralph Lauren: Impossibly Skinny, Impossibly Fashionable
Yep. Believe it or not, the Ralph Lauren model above has not been manipulated. At least not by me. By Ralph's fashion empire. He placed her in a slightly different context however. Note the body types though. Spot any differences?
I cannot believe in 2009 we still have to vomit our guts out, or slice off half our abdomens to fit into crappy clothes designed for holocaust victims. It's not just Ralph Lauren. The entire fashion industry seems to be fixated on perpetuating this bullshit. I hope Ralph Lauren comes after me. I'll have to gorge on laxatives to fit into one of his outfits to wear to court. Below would constitute my response:
Annoy.com deals with a subjects of intense public concern. These subjects have been and are the subject of acute debate in the media. Annoy.com constitutes both a reference work and a visual commentary that is relevant and important to the debate. It is speech entitled to the greatest and strictest protection under the First Amendment to the Constitution of the United States.
As far as their trademark is concerned, I acknowledge those rights. However, protection for trademark rights under the Lanham Act is limited to protection against another's use of a designation to identify its business or in marketing its
goods or services in a way that causes a likelihood of confusion. Such trademark
rights do not override First Amendment rights.
Eat it Ralph. Or at least have your models eat it.
For more context:Last month, Xeni blogged about the photoshop disaster that is this Ralph Lauren advertisement, in which a model's proportions appear to have been altered to give her an impossibly skinny body ("Dude, her head's bigger than her pelvis"). Naturally, Xeni reproduced the ad in question. This is classic fair use: a reproduction "for purposes such as criticism, comment, news reporting," etc.
However, Ralph Lauren's marketing arm and its law firm don't see it that way. According to them, this is an "infringing image," and they thoughtfully took the time to send a DMCA takedown notice to our awesome ISP, Canada's Priority Colo. One of the things that makes Priority Colo so awesome is that they don't automatically act on DMCA takedowns. Instead, they pass them on to us and we talk about whether they pass the giggle-test.
This one doesn't.
Cory Doctorow, The criticism that Ralph Lauren doesn't want you to see!, BoingBoing.net, Octber 6, 2009
Dude, her head's bigger than her pelvis.
Xeni Jardin, Ralph Lauren opens new outlet store in the Uncanny Valley, BoingBoing.net, September 29, 2009
When Ralph Lauren tried to remove a creepily retouched advertisement from the net, was it embarrassed by graphic design woes, or by a cutting hatchet job by an unknown prankster?
It's obvious by now that Ralph Lauren *hates* being mocked. They hate being mocked so much that they ordered their attack lawyers to send letters trying to fool ISPs into pulling an "infringing" advertisement featuring a ridiculously skinny model (in fact, our posting of the image was fair use, not infringement; Ralph Lauren's takedown notices are bogus and they should know better).
It's also obvious that the photo of Filippa Hamilton used in the Ralph Lauren advertisement was digitally manipulated. But we still have three questions: 1) who, exactly, gave Ms. Hamilton the Olive Oyl physique? 2) If the photo was manipulated after it appeared in the advertisement, why didn't Ralph Lauren's law firm make mention of that in their silly DMCA takedown notice? and 3) Where's the original advertisement?
Mark Frauenfelder, Searching for the skinny on Ralph Lauren ad, BoingBoing.net, October 8, 2009